Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Boyd Bradbury


Leadership, Followership, Mixed-Methods, Follower, Leader, Higher Education


The purpose of this exploratory mixed-methods study was to determine how doctoral students in a formal leadership program conceptualize followership. The methods used to conduct this analysis included distributing a Qualtrics (released in August 2022) survey and conducting one-on-one interviews with a sample of degree-seeking doctoral students within a formal leadership program. The researcher collected quantitative and qualitative data addressing students’ followership style, leadership attitudes and beliefs, and perceptions of followership. These data were analyzed concurrently using a triangulation design. A total of 67 students completed the survey, and seven students were interviewed. The findings revealed that the participants employ an exemplary followership style, exercise systemic thinking, and hold a prototypic and antiprototypic view of followers. As followers, the participants described themselves as actively supporting the leader, organization, and team while taking the initiative to go above and beyond in problem-solving and executing their roles. Further, they emphasized the importance of developing rapport with their leader(s) and colleagues because they view leadership as a collective process that is relationship oriented. Moreover, they believe they add value to that process regardless of the role they hold. Although their perceptions of followership encompass a continuum of negative and positive follower attributes, they assume that most followers are proactive and interactive in their work with the leader(s) and members of the organization.

Keywords: follower, followership, leadership, higher education, mixed-methods

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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